Testing the impacts of invasive jumping worms at their northern range limit

Samantha Bennett* (Corresponding author), Helen R.P. Phillips* (Corresponding author), Anne C. Dalziel, Lawrence R. Manzer, Erin K. Cameron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Earthworms can act as ecosystem engineers by altering soil structure, which impacts other organisms and ecosystem functioning. Jumping worms (family Megascolecidae) originating in Asia have been spreading in North America, extending their northern range limits to Ontario, Canada in the last decade and to New Brunswick in 2021. At the northern limits of their current range, little research has been done to examine the effects of jumping worms in these new habitats since their recent establishment. Our objectives were to evaluate: (1) how jumping worms impact soil nitrogen and soil carbon; (2) how their presence impacts the abundance of non-native European earthworms (family Lumbricidae); and (3) whether two sampling methods (i.e., mustard solution and wooden discs) are equally effective at detecting jumping worms. We sampled a residential property in Oromocto, New Brunswick, which was the first location where jumping worms were found in the province. Jumping worms did not have significant impacts on the abundance and biomass of European earthworms or soil carbon content in the top 5 cm of the soil, but they did significantly affect soil nitrogen levels. Both sampling methods were equally effective at detecting the presence of jumping worms. Further research is needed in managed landscapes, urban areas, and forests to determine the ecosystem impacts and invasion dynamics of jumping worms in Canada as this invasion progresses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103590
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Biology
Volume120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Citizen science
  • Community science
  • Ecosystem engineer
  • European earthworm
  • Lumbricidae
  • Megascolecidae
  • Non-native species

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